Applications (more affectionately referred to as apps) are the future of the music industry. Notable failures within the last few months, such as Jay-z’s Samsung fiasco, are just a few in a world of apps that are helping to change the music landscape. By taking into account the changing technological landscape, the industry can take note and this time around embrace technology instead of trying to pummel it.
BILLBOARD NEEDS TO CATCH UP
One of the many issues with Jay-z’s application in support of his album,Magna Carta Holy Grail, was that Billboard didn’t accept the first one million albums offered for free download as a song sale. This means that the tracks wouldn’t count towards the sales of Jay-z’s album within the Billboard charts. While Billboard probably holds little relevance outside of the industry, the charts they operate and curate still have some sort of levity within the industry (no matter what any industry insider might say).
With Billboard not recognizing the revolutionary deal between a major brand and artist, they lost the opportunity to position themselves as a forerunner in innovation within music. This older way of thinking holds no relevance in an industry changing rapidly each year and further proves that the old music industry still lives inside of arguably the biggest publication for the music industry.
As the analog executives of the industry are further phased out for their lack of innovation and old way of thinking, publications like Billboard should recognize that one million songs sold still counts. Because they weren’t downloaded through a partner like iTunes or Amazon, doesn’t mean the sales don’t count. Music was purchased and it was downloaded. It’s a sale, report it!
For an insight into Billboard’s decision, please read the editor’s letter about why Jay-z’s app downloads didn’t count here.
INNOVATION IS VITAL
The music industry is dying. I’ve heard it a thousand times in multiple articles across multiple outlets (some not even related to music). With industry publications like Billboard not supporting new ideas or ways of doing things, it cuts off the vital arm of the industry that can help save it: innovation.
A great example of innovation in terms of both music and apps, is the fan club app for Trey Songz. The app is called “Trey Songz — The Angel Network” and is re-creating how artists position their fan clubs.
Historically, fan clubs have always been a huge supporter of the artist they are dedicated to. The members promote new album releases, buy tour tickets to see the artist live, and buy merchandise all of which help the artist earn a living.
With the application for Trey Songz, developed by Handmade Mobile Entertainment, the basic functionality of a fan club is integrated into an interactive mobile app. Songz logs onto the app a few times a week and posts exclusive content within the app (the content is only accessible if you have the app). The fan club goes a step further and creates a network of fans within the application by allowing fans to create profiles, send virtual stickers to each other and messaging each other exclusively within the application.
Trey Songz makes a profit off of the application by charging fans a monthly fee to gain access to the basic features. The virtual stickers and other items are charged for on an individual basis. But his fans are buying them and sending them to each other. One part of the future is virtual goods and Songz’s execution of the idea within his own branded network is flawless.
If more artists were willing to invest in technology around their brand, they would be able to create a new business vertical.